Sunday, March 6, 2011



 A while back one of my favourite bloggers, Istanbul's Stranger, posted a meme on privilege. It's a meme that I'd seen floating around the web for a while. The meme in itself is interesting; if my family and friends were to take it, it would reveal that~95% of them have most--if not all--of these status markers. Growing up, I never really thought of these markers as "privilege''. It's thought-provoking in a way, because as much as I try to fight against entitlement, I may unknowingly hold some myself.

In any case, this meme was developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka from Illinois State University.

Highlighted in red are the sentences that apply to me:

Father went to college
Father finished college (He dropped out 36 credits shy of graduation in order to fight in Viet Nam)
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children’s books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs (Scholarship, baby!)
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

The last marker particularly struck me. It may seem insignificant at first glance, but it's actually so telling. When you live a privileged or even comfortable life, you don't really mind the numbers or the little details. When you struggle, however, you know the little details. You know exactly how much the heating bills cost; even a dollar could throw your budget off. This is a reality for people living paycheck to paycheck or on fixed incomes. 

Have any of you taken this meme? What do you think?

1 comment:

Will Barratt said...

Nice insight

Will Barratt

We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl